Cambridge bar shut down by city after reopening to offer COVID-19 antibody tests

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - A popular Cambridge bar that reopened after transforming itself into a makeshift COVID-19 antibody testing site has been ordered to cease operations until further notice.

Wit’s End, a once-bustling bar on Cambridge Street, decided to reopen as a coronavirus clinic after bar owner Peter Stein was forced to lay off a dozen workers due to the pandemic.

Stein told 7NEWS that he wanted to convert his failing business into one that could really boom amid the ongoing public health crisis.

Stein’s brother, a doctor in New York, was granted a temporary license to practice medicine in Massachusetts. They then launched the antibody testing site.

Photos posted on the bar’s Facebook page suggest the establishment was thoroughly disinfected before reopening.

Employees were hired back, their temperatures were taken, they were given personal protective equipment, and social distancing rules were implemented.

Wit’s End began conducting testing on May 8. Four days later, they were shut down by the city.

“After an investigation, city staff determined that the premises were being used for a medical office without a certificate of occupancy for the change of use,” the Cambridge City Manager’s Office said in a statement.

Health regulations explicitly say that a business cannot be promoted as a clinic if it is not licensed by Massachusetts.

In an email to 7NEWS, Stein said, “We are trying to work with Cambridge to get open and are exploring other facility options as well. We believe the testing service we are providing is a necessary component to reopening society and hope we can resolve these issues quickly.”

It’s not clear when or if Wit’s End will be given the green light to reopen.

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